The battle amongst full-size pickup trucks from Ford, Chevy and Ram is as close to a bloodsport as the auto industry has, but now it might be Toyota that gets the last laugh in the tonnage towing race. In what should prove to be the mother of all publicity stunts, a showroom-stock 2012 Toyota Tundra will tow the space shuttle Endeavour to its final resting place at the California Science Center.

How exactly does a bone-stock, half-ton pickup tow almost 300,000 pounds, you ask? A quarter mile at a time using a specially designed rig.

Endeavour will be towed 12 miles from Los Angeles International Airport to the museum on October 13, and the Tundra will hitch up to the shuttle for the last quarter mile of the trip. The towing rig was made specifically for this event, allowing the full-size Tundra to pull almost 30 times its regular towing capacity. Toyota says that the truck used to tow Endeavour will be a stock V8 Tundra with no enhancements or modifications.

The Endeavour exhibit opens at the California Science Center on October 30, joining other airplanes and spacecraft including the capsule from the Gemini 11 mission. The Tundra that tows the shuttle will remain on display at the museum as well.

You can read the press release from Toyota below.
Show full PR text

Toyota Tundra to Tow Space Shuttle Endeavour on Last Leg of Journey to the California Science Center
Tundra Entrusted With Historic Transportation of Endeavour Through California Science Center Partnership to Promote Education and Space Awareness


TORRANCE, Calif. (September 12, 2012) – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) announced today that the Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck is slated to tow the space shuttle Endeavour during its final journey to the California Science Center on October 13, 2012, where it will go on permanent display. The Endeavour will travel a total of 12 miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on city streets to the Science Center, with the Tundra towing the last quarter mile.

Tested extensively prior to the announcement, the 2012 Tundra is slated to safely tow the 300,000 pound historic artifact down Bill Robertson Lane in Exposition Park, near downtown Los Angeles, on the final leg of its journey. Endeavour will be towed using a stock 2012 Tundra CrewMax 1/2–ton pickup, identical to models currently found in Toyota dealerships, with no additional modifications made to increase towing capacity or generate more power. The Tundra CrewMax is equipped with Toyota's powerful 5.7L V8 engine, producing a maximum tow capacity of 10,000 pounds. TMS has done extensive testing and worked with The Sarens Group, a heavy lifting and engineered transport company, to develop a dolly specifically for hauling the Endeavour.

"There is no larger or more recognizable icon of the U.S. space program's success than the shuttle, and to have it towed by the Toyota Tundra is not only an incredible example of the capabilities of the truck, but an honor to be part of history," said Ed Laukes, TMS vice president of marketing communications. "The entire journey is something the world will be watching, and gives us a chance to prove that the 'overbuilt' Tundra is built to do any job – even tow the space shuttle."

Participation in the transportation of the shuttle is part of an ongoing partnership between TMS and the Science Center in an effort to provide support and awareness of the space program and continuing education of the public through exhibits and programs. Toyota currently has a Tundra truck on display in a Science Center exhibit demonstrating the physics of leverage. The tow Tundra will replace the existing Tundra and will be on display after the Endeavour exhibit opens on October 30, 2012.

At the end of the Endeavour's 12 mile journey from LAX to the Science Center, a "finish-line" celebration at Exposition Park is planned for the evening of October 13, as the shuttle arrives at the Science Center, allowing the public to witness the finale of this historic voyage.

The tow program was developed in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi LA (SSLA), the agency of record for TMS, and the Science Center, and serves as a unique way to demonstrate Tundra's capabilities and towing capacity. In collaboration with SSLA and Science Center, TMS has developed a host of online resources and activities that provide behind-the-scenes videos, photos, activities for children and information about the Tundra Endeavour project and can be found at www.toyota.com/TundraEndeavour beginning September 17th. Visitors can share content, sign up for email alerts and participate in re-Tweeting information that will help contribute money to the California Science Center for further development of exhibits and displays.

About Toyota
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers which sold more than 1.64 million vehicles in 2011. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com.

About Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Saatchi & Saatchi LA is located in Torrance, California and is part of the global Saatchi & Saatchi network of 140 offices in 76 countries, and is owned by the Publicis Groupe, the third largest communications group in the world. As the agency of record for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., SSLA employs more than 375 full-time employees and has been a trusted partner of TMS since 1975.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 197 Comments
      samagon0
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good to see that everything is for sale in America.
      ADDvanced
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good luck stopppppiiiiiiinnnnnggggggggggggggggggg.
      EC
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love my Tundra Crew max and I seldom ever drive my MB E350. The damn thing is much quieter. Good for Toyota!!!
      R3TRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Big deal. I once swam the English Channel while pulling an aircraft carrier with my teeth!
      Patrick Peterson
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sacrilegious...
      trooper
      • 2 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD2gr0AsrAQ
      anon
      • 2 Years Ago
      And yet their passenger cars won't even tow 1000 lbs. like they used to, or even 1500 lbs. Toyota you're wimping out.
      Kymmy
      • 2 Years Ago
      My Expedition pulled my neighbor's Tundra out of a snow bank and up our hill! Give me a Ford any day!
      Timbo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm a Ford truck man but this will still be interesting to see.
      Max
      • 2 Years Ago
      Uneducated John - The Toyota Tundra is the #1 pick-up truck with the most American made components at 75%. The Ford F-Series comes in at 62%, while Chevy is at 60% - More American sourced parts, plus a Tundra plant in San Antonio, equals more American jobs. Perhaps you should study a little more on this "American" economy - the government all but handed American Chrysler over to the Italians, after you and I bailed them out. Also a study by the Center for Automotive Research states " the economic impact in 2010 of Toyota’s U.S. operations on the U.S. economy and 16 individual state economies. It finds that Toyota’s employment in the U.S. contributes to the support of more than 365,000 jobs nationally, and compensation of over $20 billion." -But thanks for your input John Doe.
        John Doe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Max
        Not sure where you get your numbers Max I Drive a 2011 Dodge Dakota and it is 84% AMERICAN. I am sure it would be 100 if so many part manufacturers did not send jobs overseas. If they made it with 100% american parts people like you would complain that it is too expensive and still buy Japanese. Japan treats their workers like slave and American companies have to deal with unions (40.00 an hour bolt tightener full benefits, cant fire the lazy etc etc etc) If American workers want to keep making the money we make, with the benefits we get, we cannot expect our companies to compete with Japan on "price". Here is a link where you can see what I drive.. Sorry you obviously sent your money to Japan and are trying to justify it. I want to work for an AMERICAN company Japanese. Thanks for your input "Max" Whats your Last name Suzuki or Honda? autos.aol.com/cars-Dodge-Dakota-2011/overview/
          Klinkster
          • 2 Years Ago
          @John Doe
          John Doe - you're an ignorant idiot who has never left the Continental USA to see reality. I'd like to see you take your welfare cheque and food stamps overseas and see how well you live in Japan. It's MORE expensive there and wages are HIGHER. Contrary to your belief, Japanese workers actually take pride in working to benefit their Company...unlike many North American's who simply work for a paycheque and whatever company will give them a paycheque.
          mgar88
          • 2 Years Ago
          @John Doe
          The Japanese treat their workers like slaves? LOL You're woefully misinformed.
        Paul P.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Max
        Actually, as of 2012, the F150 and the Tundra both have the same American parts content at 75%. The Ram 1500 is at 70% while the 1/2 ton GM Twins are at 62%. Lowest is the Titan with 50%.
          Famsert
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Paul P.
          I'm pretty sure his point still stands. Why bash Toyota and not GM then?
        Michael
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Max
        Hey Max, do you work for Toyota? Or does this type of stuff just give you wood?
        chrono00
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Max
        http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2012/03/what-percentage-of-your-truck-is-made-in-america.html
          clquake
          • 2 Years Ago
          @chrono00
          It's not a study. It's what the manufacturers, by law, have to disclose,
          Adrian
          • 2 Years Ago
          @chrono00
          Yes, we get it. You don't have to link to this stupid survey again. Besides, the percentages don't even add up to 100%, it's a pathetic study that you referenced.
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Tundra is American just like how the Ford Falcon is Australian. Bitch and whine all you want, but automakers are big corporations. And a lot of big corporations are smart enough to operate globally, diversifying their offerings for the home markets. Please put your guns away, tone down the excessive nationalism and racism that you mistake for patriotism, and go and watch some men in tights run after a pointy, oblong leather ball.
      John Doe
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is this country coming to? A great american legend being pulled by a JAPANESE truck! And we wonder why all of the jobs have left this country! Keep promoting and buying Japanese, Korean and germen cars! Maybe the job that is lost will soon be YOURS!
        Klinkster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Doe
        If you're mad at eliminating poorly skilled (and paid) manufacturing jobs in favour of highly skilled (and paid) sales and marketing jobs is undesired...then perhaps China, Korea, Taiwan would be better suited for you. Now get back to work assembling cogs!!
        Toddley
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Doe
        Toyota builds a ton of cars in the States, just like Ford and Chevrolet build many of their cars in third world countries.
        Mike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Doe
        Your comment is swelling with ignorance. American manufacturers overwhelmingly assemble their vehicles outside the US, while Japanese manufacturers have many plants and assemble many vehicles here. This Tundra was probably touched by more American hands than Japanese.
          chrono00
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mike
          http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2012/03/what-percentage-of-your-truck-is-made-in-america.html
        Travis
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Doe
        Or perhaps the reason why this country is in a decline lies within the contents of your comment. I don't exactly recall Germen being a nationality. Just saying that before you blame people for buying foreign cars, you take a look through a 2nd grade textbook to properly spell even the easiest of words.
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